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What Makes a Writer Tick?

by JD Lowes

I’ve always been interested in how the sausage was made. 

                                                              

I was eight when I discovered my father’s .22 rifle. I was not interested so much in firing the gun, but rather, I wanted to know how it fired. I unscrewed all the screws, and removed every spring and by the time I was finished, my dad’s gun was completely dismantled.  I soon learned it was much more difficult to reassemble it.  Soon after, the day came when my dad found his rifle replaced with a motor oil box filled with a bunch of gun parts.  That was the end of my dismantling career!

 

After a stint in the military, I was rudderless for a time.  I assembled furniture sets for Sears for a while, and even tried my hand as a private detective under the Las Vegas lights. By pure happenstance, I discovered an innate talent for figurative sculpture.  I saw an image in my head and duplicated what I saw out of terracotta clay.  I spent years honing my craft, but monetary success eluded me. In all those years of working alone with laser beam focus, I learned to become self-motivated and goal oriented. 

 

Sculpting can be a very solitary profession and I discovered the joys of audiobooks.  I listened to hundreds of them while I worked, starting with the classics, gravitating to military history, then mystery novels, finally I happened upon my favorite genre, horror. There’s nothing better than listening to Hieronymus Bosch give the LAPD the business or indulging in guilty pleasure of Stuart Woods or Stephen King.

 

I said to myself, “I think I could do that.”  I completed my first novel in six months.  I was so proud. Everyone that read my manuscript said it was great and assured me I was on my way to being the next great American novelist… 

 

This was not to be the case. After one hundred and ten rejection slips, I got a real job and my manuscript sat in its box for twenty years. Deep down, I felt like a failure.  I had been raised to believe you don’t fail unless you quit and my soul died a little more every day seeing my manuscript as a door stop. 

 

Then electronic self-publishing actually became a legitimate thing. Redemption.  I started writing again, and now am working on my fourth novel.  It’s been difficult marketing my stories and there is definitely room for improvement.  But now I see myself as a novelist, and I’m convinced that everything I’ve done in my life was meant to bring me to this exact place in life.  I love the work and although it’s the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, I was put on this earth to tell stories – I just took a circuitous route. 

 

The best thing about being a storyteller is, just about the time I get bored with one subject, I get to move on and tell an entirely different tale. I refuse to get too low because of listless sales. I follow Winston Churchill’s sage advice: “When going through hell, keep going!” Bolstered by my wife’s positive encouragement, it’s just a matter of time before people discover my stories.

 

I still enjoy seeing how the sausage is made.  Except now I’m not so interested in the inner workings but rather how others build their stories. Writing a novel is similar to sculpting. All I do is listen to what the characters say and write down what I see happening.  When I sculpt, I have an image in my head and all I do is guide my hands to create it. 

 

I love reading how creative people tic. I can’t shut off my mind. I’m always thinking outside the box, storing ideas for future stories.  My day starts at noon.  I light the candle on my desk and I write for six and a half hours, five days a week without exception.

 

J. D. Lowes is the author of The Seraph’s Son, Volition: An Extra-Terrestrial Incident, and soon to be released, “Sins of the Killer.”  I’d love to hear what you think of my stories.  You can contact me at terrasculp@yahoo.com.  You can write a review for my stories at Amazon.com/author/jdlowes

 

   

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